Georgetown Sheraton Hotel Opens

Sheraton ribbon webOfficials cut a big blue ribbon yesterday to mark the opening of the Sheraton Georgetown Texas Hotel and Conference Center.

The 222-room full-service hotel and conference center is at the Summit at Rivery Park development on Interstate 35. The hotel includes 30,000 square feet of meeting space with a 16,000-square-foot ballroom, four breakout rooms, and a state-of-the-art boardroom.

Other features of the hotel include a heated outdoor pool, a fitness center, the Lobby Lounge for casual dining, and the Brix and Ale, a restaurant offering classic comfort cuisine and drinks.

Paintings and sculptures from local artists are displayed throughout the hotel and conference center.

The Starwood hotel project by Novak Brothers and Hines was a public-private partnership including the City of Georgetown, Williamson County, and private investors.

Sheraton front opening webThe Summit at Rivery Park project also includes 223 apartment residences and 114 single-family brownstones.

Other restaurants and shops and are under construction at the mixed-use project.

Michaela Dollar to Lead Economic Development for Georgetown

An economic development professional from Round Rock will lead business recruitment and retention efforts as the economic development director for the City of Georgetown. Michaela Dollar starts in the position on August 8.

Michaela Dollar 2016b webDollar has eleven years of experience working for economic development organizations in Texas and Florida. Her role in business recruitment, retention, and marketing in those cities helped in the creation of more than 2,730 jobs and $659.7 million in capital investment.

Dollar leads business recruitment efforts for the Round Rock Chamber and Economic Development Partnership where she has been since 2013. In addition to developing incentive packages, reports, and marketing materials, Dollar played a key role in the formation of the Williamson County Economic Development Partnership, a regional economic development collaboration.

“Michaela brings over a decade of experience in economic development with strong skills in business attraction, retention, and marketing,” says David Morgan, city manager for the City of Georgetown. “With the knowledge of the Central Texas region, Michaela will be able to hit the ground running with a level of sophistication to take advantage of the economic opportunities for Georgetown today and in the future.”

Dollar previously worked for economic development organizations in Dallas, Cedar Hill, and Panama City, Florida where she focused on business recruitment, retention, marketing, and incentive negotiations.

Her marketing and program work for the Round Rock Chamber and Economic Development Partnership garnered awards from the International Economic Development Council in 2015 as well as a community economic development award from the Texas Economic Development Council in 2014. Dollar also serves on the board of directors for the Foreign Trade Zone of Central Texas and the Round Rock Area Arts Council.

“I am excited to join the City of Georgetown during this new wave of economic growth. I can tell that city leadership has developed a dynamic team, and I very much look forward to being part of it,” says Dollar.

Dollar has a master’s degree in communication from the University of Texas at Arlington and a bachelor’s degree in business communication from Florida State University.

Downtown Retail Workshop on June 16

A downtown workshop to focus on the commercial downtown area for the Retail Strategy and Recruitment Plan for Georgetown will be hosted by the City of Georgetown and Catalyst Commercial on June 16.

The City of Georgetown and the Georgetown Economic Development Corporation (GEDCO) have partnered with Catalyst Commercial, a leading expert in retail recruitment, marketing, and strategy to conduct a retail market analysis and create a Retail Strategy and Recruitment Plan customized for Georgetown.  This project will measure the current retail environment, address the types and locations of retail outlets that will be most beneficial for the citizens and successful for businesses, and create a more diversified retail environment in our community.

The workshop on June 16 will be a venue for downtown stakeholders to share their thoughts about Georgetown’s opportunities to attract and retain retail establishments in downtown.

The event is on Thursday, June 16 from 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. in the Friends Room at the Georgetown Public Library, 402 W. Eighth Street. A light breakfast will be provided.

Walk-ins are welcome. Help us prepare by RSVP to Andreina Davila-Quintero, City of Georgetown Project Coordinator, by 5 p.m. on Tuesday, June 14 at Andreina.Davila@georgetown.org or (512) 931-7686.  If you would like to learn more about this project, please visit https://invest.georgetown.org/retail-strategy-and-recruitment-plan/.

Airport Master Plan Update Funded

Devil Dog lifting off webThe City of Georgetown is beginning an update process for the Airport Master Plan for the Georgetown Municipal Airport. The City Council approved a project participation agreement at their regular meeting Tuesday night.

Funding for the project is being provided through a 90/10 matching grant program administered by the Texas Department of Transportation Aviation Division that requires a 10 percent local match. The grant includes $180,000 in federal funding and $20,000 in funding from the City Airport fund, which is supported by revenues and taxes generated at the Airport. Local Airport funds of $20,000 for the grant were approved in the City’s budget for the 2014-2015 fiscal year.

The Airport Master Plan is a long-term planning document that provides a framework for future considerations at the Airport, such as new business opportunities, infrastructure improvements, and desired community goals for the Airport. The current Airport Master Plan was last updated in 2005.

A consultant will be hired this summer to lead the update process. Public input will be part of the Master Plan update, which is scheduled to begin this fall and is expected to be a two-year process.

The Georgetown Municipal Airport is a general aviation regional reliever airport located on Airport Road in Georgetown. Find out more about the Georgetown Municipal Airport at airport.georgetown.org.

Georgetown Main Street Program Commended

Georgetown was recently commended by the Texas Historical Commission for successful annual progress as a designated Main Street community, one of 58 in Texas to be recognized this year. Cities were recognized at the winter meeting on February 10 of the Texas Main Street Program, which is a program of the Texas Historical Commission.

As part of the Texas Main Street Program, local Main Street programs focus on responsibly utilizing a community’s historic assets for economic benefit and to increase quality of life. Main Street programs in Texas are staffed, but rely on community volunteers to carry out the program.

The Georgetown Main Street Program is accredited by meeting performance benchmarks in planning, partnerships, staffing, volunteer effort, preservation ethic, training, and program assessment through reporting.

Main Street group Feb 2016 b web

Georgetown Main Street Program activities in 2015 included providing $34,000 in façade and sign reimbursement grants to 12 downtown businesses, sponsoring the Ladies Nite Out and Georgetown Swirl events, and the annual collectible Christmas ornament sale.

For more information about the Georgetown Main Street Program, go to mainstreet.georgetown.org. For more information on the Texas Historical Commission’s Main Street program, visit www.thc.state.tx.us.

Tamiro Plaza Phase 2 Features Residential and Retail

Tamiro phase 2 image Austin-6thA new four-story project in downtown Georgetown with retail, office, and residential components was announced on Friday. Tamiro Plaza Phase 2, a 60,000 square foot structure, will be one of the largest mixed-use projects in Georgetown.

The project is adjacent to the four-story Tamiro Plaza phase 1 office and retail building that opened in 2008. The buildings at 501 S. Austin Avenue are one block north of the Courthouse Square.

Tamiro Plaza phase 2 will include 16,000 square feet of specialty shops and restaurants on the first floor and 43,000 square feet of professional offices and residential units on the upper floors, according to Francisco Choi, developer and architect for the project. Structured parking will be interior to the building and wrapped with residential and commercial space on the exterior.

Zhongyong Tang and Bee S Teo, Singapore-based investors in the project, visited Georgetown last week to meet with Choi, Georgetown Mayor Dale Ross, and City Manager David Morgan. “This is going to be a very good project,” said Tang. “I am looking forward to a very fruitful collaboration.”

Tamiro phase 2 people 2 web

Pictured in the photo are (left to right) Georgetown City Manager David Morgan, Francisco Choi, Mayor Dale Ross, Zhongyong Tang, and Bee S Teo.

The $10 million project is set to begin construction by the end of the year with a grand opening date in late 2017, according to Choi.

Tamiro phase 2 image 6thAn architectural rendering of the project from Austin Avenue and Sixth Streets is shown above.

A rendering of the project depicting the Sixth Street elevation is shown at right.

Assistant City Manager to Lead Development for Georgetown

Wayne Reed webA deputy city manager from Centennial, Colorado, has been chosen as the new assistant city manager for the City of Georgetown. Wayne Reed will lead development-related departments in his new position with the City, which he will start on January 25. Reed was the top choice from a pool of 130 applicants from 27 states and Puerto Rico.

“Wayne has an extensive background in planning and community development that makes him an exceptional choice to help manage the tremendous growth that Georgetown is expected to experience over the next several years,” says City Manager David Morgan. “His innovative experience and leadership qualities will be instrumental in helping to guide and promote quality development as well as making Georgetown a smart place to invest.”

With more than 19 years of local government experience in both Colorado and Texas, Reed currently serves as the deputy city manager for the City of Centennial, Colorado. In that role, Reed oversees Community Development, Public Works, and the Office of Innovation for the growing Denver suburb with 107,000 residents. He previously served as Centennial’s community development director. Reed previously held the position of planning director for the Town of Berthoud, Colorado, and also served as a planner for the city of Arvada, Colorado, and Denton, Texas.

A graduate of Texas A&M University with a master’s degree in urban planning and a bachelor’s degree in environmental design, Reed also served as a sergeant with the U.S. Army Reserve. Reed is a certified planning professional and a member of the International City/County Management Association, American Public Works Association, American Institute of Certified Planners, and the American Planning Association.

After he starts in Georgetown, one of Reed’s first projects will be to hire a new person to lead economic development efforts for the City. Reed joins two incumbent assistant city managers for Georgetown: Laurie Brewer and Jim Briggs.

Wolf Ranch Hillwood Project Breaks Ground

shovels city 1 webThe 755-acre Wolf Ranch master-planned residential project was officially launched last Thursday in Georgetown. Hillwood Communities, the Dallas-based residential developer building the project, hosted a groundbreaking at a site on Wolf Ranch Parkway that will be the community center and swimming pool for the new development.

Wolf Ranch will include 1,600 single-family homes, 900 multifamily units, neighborhood retail, and 140 acres of green space with parks and trails.

Site work has begun for phase 1 of the project that includes 80 acres and 214 home sites along Wolf Ranch Parkway. Residents are expected to move into the first homes in 2017. Hillwood Communities expects that homes at Wolf Ranch will be priced in a range from $275,000 to $500,000.

Barefoot Park Sketch webThe groundbreaking site on a hill overlooked rolling ranchland covered with live oak trees and prickly pear cactus. “This land is as beautiful as any we have ever developed,” said Brian Carlock, senior vice president for Hillwood Communities. (A rendering of one of the parks in the development is pictured at right.)

Future phases of the Wolf Ranch community include areas west of Wolf Ranch Parkway and areas south of University Avenue to the east and to the west of D.B. Wood Road.

The land for the residential project was purchased from the Wolf family in 2014. Wolf family land includes 755 acres in the Hillwood project as well as the property for the Wolf Ranch retail center at Texas 29 and Interstate 35. Wolf Ranch Town Center, which opened in 2005, is owned by Simon Property Group.

Wolf Property map webLand for the Wolf Ranch Hillwood development has been annexed into Georgetown city limits. (A map of the entire Wolf Ranch master-planned community is shown at right.)

The project will be funded in part through a municipal utility district located within the city limits.

Hillwood Communities, owned by Ross Perot, Jr., has developed 80 master-planned communities in the U.S., including the 18,000-acre AllianceTexas near Fort Worth and the 4,474-acre AllianceFlorida.

Breakfast Bites on Sheraton Georgetown Dec. 9

The next quarterly Breakfast Bites panel on December 9 will focus on the Sheraton Georgetown Texas Hotel and Conference Center, which is set to open next summer. Panelists will provide insights into the ways that the new 225-room four-star hotel and 30,000 square foot conference center will be a game changer for Georgetown tourism. Breakfast Bites is a quarterly business development event by the Georgetown Main Street Program.

Breakfast Bites Sheraton flyerThe Breakfast Bites panel will include three key people involved with the Sheraton Georgetown Texas Hotel and Conference Center and its impact on Georgetown.

Lorena Chappell is employed by Starwood Hotels and Resorts as director of sales and marketing for the new Sheraton Georgetown Texas Hotel and Conference Center. Chappell has worked in hospitality for more than 22 years and previously was the director of catering and conference planning at the Four Seasons Hotel in Houston.

Jeff Novak is the founding partner for Novak Brothers, a real estate development firm. Novak Brothers and international real estate firm Hines are developing the Sheraton Georgetown Texas Hotel and Conference Center. Novak Brothers has developed more than $250 million in real estate projects with assets valued at more than $125 million including residential developments, multi-family, retail, office, and hotels.

Marie Woodard is the group sales and servicing coordinator for the Georgetown Convention and Visitors Bureau. Woodard has 26 years of experience in hospitality and tourism including 14 years as director of sales for the Kerrville Convention and Visitors Bureau.

The moderator for the panel is Laurie Brewer, assistant city manager for the City of Georgetown and director of the Downtown and Community Services Division.

The event on Wednesday, December 9 is from 8:30 to 9:50 a.m. in the Friends Room at the Georgetown Public Library, 402 W. Eighth Street. Breakfast snacks, coffee, and drinks will be provided. Networking starts at 8 a.m.

Attendees should pre-register by contacting Shelly Hargrove, Main Street manager, by 5 p.m. on Monday, December 7 at shelly.hargrove@georgetown.org or (512) 930-2027. Main Street is a program of the City of Georgetown Downtown and Community Services Department.

Georgetown Re-certified a Scenic City

Scenic City gold logo For the second time in five years, Georgetown was recently certified as a gold-level Scenic City by Scenic Texas. Georgetown was initially certified as a gold-level Scenic City in 2010 and was one of 20 cities to be certified or re-certified this summer.

Georgetown is one of 58 cities in Texas to be certified as a Scenic City. Georgetown was presented with its Gold Scenic City Certification on September 24 at the Texas Municipal League annual conference in San Antonio.

The Scenic City Certification Program incorporates a comprehensive set of model standards for design and development of public roadways and public spaces into a cohesive assessment program. The program draws a direct correlation between the success of a city’s economic development efforts and the visual appearance of its public spaces and recognizes municipalities that implement high-quality scenic standards.

The Scenic City program includes a variety of criteria such as parkland designation, landscaping, historic preservation, sign restrictions, litter prevention, and other standards for public places. Achieving the Scenic City certification recognizes regulations and programs that improve property values and help to attract new businesses. Cities that qualify earn a five-year certification.

“Georgetown’s Scenic City Certification demonstrates its commitment to high-quality standards for public roadways and public spaces,” said Anne Culver, executive director of the Scenic City Certification Program. “This enhances Georgetown’s image which in turn drives economic development.”

Scenic City group 1b web

City employees who contributed to the Scenic City certification effort are (pictured left to right): Laurie Brewer, Kimberly Garrett, Jackson Daly, Nat Waggoner, Julie Dominguez, Karen Frost, and Mike Stasny.

Scenic Texas, the sponsor of the certification program, is a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving and enhancing the visual character of Texas by promoting enhanced design standards for public projects, sign regulation, freeway landscaping, and scenic byway development. Find out more at www.scenictexas.org.